The Red Gym’s official name is the Armory and Gymnasium, so I suppose you could say that it’s still an armory — though it contains very little in the way of arms or armor. It hasn’t really served that purpose since the 1970s. The UW famously hosted other military training facilities: 70,000 soldiers passed through Camp Randall during the Civil War; the UW’s first gym, which stood on the site of the Carillon Tower, doubled as a drill facility; and during World War II, Memorial Union doled out supplies to the women training to serve in the U.S. Navy. But the Red Gym was the UW’s official armory. From its opening in 1894, it looked imposing, with crenellated towers and stairways built to accommodate a battalion marching four abreast. By the end of World War I, the building was outdated as both armory and gym, but the Army ROTC kept its office there for decades, until antiwar protesters bombed the building on January 2, 1970. Afterward, the ROTC moved to Linden Drive, and since then, the Red Gym has been an armory in name only. Today it houses a collection of student-oriented organizations, including the Morgidge Center for Public Service, the Multicultural Student Center, the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center, and International Student Services.
Red Gym History
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